Prime Minister David Cameron will have a lot on his shoulders when he arrives for a meeting with Barak Obama next week in the US. Downing Street aides are understood to be dismayed that yet again another issue has surfaced to cast a shadow over Britain’s reputation with the US preceding Cameron’s visit. News of former prime minister Tony Blair working as an advisor to the country of Libya has the US raising an eyebrow.
The BP oil spill has long been on the agenda for the meeting between the two leaders. Recently it came to light that BP may have been heavily involved in pressuring UK authorities to release the Lockerbie bomber. Their involvement is alleged to have led to a BP contract for drilling off the Libyan coast.
The British ambassador to Washington, Sir Nigel Sheinwald wrote a letter to US Senators conducting a probe into BP’s role in the bomber’s release that “The view of the new British Government is that Megrabi’s release was a mistake. The British government deeply regrets the continuing anguish that his release on compassionate grounds has caused the families of both victims in the UK as well as in the US.” The letter was an attempt to distance Cameron from the acts of the previous British government.
While Sir Nigel Sheinwald added that the decision of the release was by Scottish officials and BP had no connection, the influential Senate Foreign Affairs Committee announced their own investigation into BP’s potential involvement. Particular interest is the role Sir Mark Allen a former MI6 official played. He is now a special advisor to BP and it is understood he traveled to Libya to broker oil deals on behalf of BP with Colonel Gaddafi.
The latest controversy involving Tony Blair is just one more issue Cameron would rather not have to face during his visit across the ocean. A Libyan source confirmed that Blair visited Colonel Gaddafi last month just days after denying he was serving as an adviser to the country. Since his term ended he has been advising firms, including JP Morgan about investment opportunities in Libya. A spokesman for Blair said he “has no role whatsoever, paid or otherwise, with the Libyan government or the Libyan Investment Authority.